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Hillsborough County Offensive Player of the Year (Classes 6A-2A) – Jan. 6

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Here are the nominees for the Hillsborough County football offensive player of the year in Classes 6A-2A. Voting ends at 9 a.m. Sunday.

RB Jordaan Bailey, Sr., Hillsborough: Accounted for 1,042 yards of offense (677 rushing, 365 receiving) and 11 touchdowns (seven rushing, four receiving) for the 10-3 Terriers.

RB Travis Bates, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Ran for 1,857 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Class 3A state semifinalist Buccaneers.

RB Anthony Carrie, So., Carrollwood Day: Ran for 1,032 yards and 20 touchdowns for the 7-3 Patriots this season.

QB Luke Knight, So., Jesuit: Threw for 2,511 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions for the 6A state champion Tigers.

RB Joquez Smith, Jr., Jesuit: Ran for 1,976 yards and 29 touchdowns for the 6A state champion Tigers.

RB Xavier Townsend, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Accounted for 1,643 yards of offense (1,209 rushing, 434 receiving) and 27 touchdowns (20 rushing, seven receiving) for the 3A state semifinalist Buccaneers.

ATH Junior Vandeross, Sr., Jesuit: Finished with 1,976 all-purpose yards and scored 15 touchdowns for the 6A state champion Tigers.

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NFL: The list of locals in this weekend’s wild-card games

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Diontae Johnson

There are a number of former high school standouts to keep tabs on during this weekend’s NFL wild-card games. Here is the schedule along with the list of locals.

Saturday, Jan. 15

Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals, 4:30 NBC

Las Vegas

  • No local players

Cincinnati

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
CB Vernon Hargreaves IIIWhartonFlorida
WR Auden TateWhartonFlorida State
TE Mitch WilcoxTarpon SpringsSouth Florida
* Auden Tate is currently on the reserves list

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 8:15 CBS

New England

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
WR Nelson AgholorBerkeley PrepSouthern California
OL Isaiah WynnLakewoodGeorgia
* Isaiah Wynn is out because of injuries

Buffalo

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
RB Matt BreidaNature CoastGeorgia Southern
DE Mike LoveCountrysideSouth Florida
* Mike Love currently is on the practice squad

Sunday, Jan. 16

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 FOX

Philadelphia

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
WR Deon CainTampa Bay TechClemson
* Deon Cain currently is on the practice squad

Tampa Bay

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
P Sterling HofrichterArmwoodSyracuse
OG Brandon WaltonSeminoleFlorida Atlantic
* Sterling Hofrichter and Brandon Walton currently are on the practice squad

San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 CBS

San Francisco

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
OG Jon HalapioSt. Petersburg CatholicFlorida
LB Azeez Al-ShaairHillsboroughFlorida Atlantic
* Jon Halapio currently is on the practice squad

Dallas

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
CB Anthony BrownHillsboroughPurdue

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:15 NBC

Pittsburgh

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
OT Chaz GreenTampa CatholicFlorida
WR Diontae JohnsonLennardToledo
WR Ray-Ray McCloudSicklesClemson
* Chaz Green currently is on the practice squad

Kansas City

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
WR Byron PringleRobinsonKansas State

Monday, Jan. 16

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 ESPN, ESPN 2, ABC

Arizona

  • No local players
Tight end (89) Tyler Higbee of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass and scores a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals and celebrates during the Rams 31-24 victory over the Cardinals in an NFL Week 17 regular season game, Sunday, December 29, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA. (Jeff Lewis)

Los Angeles Rams

Position, nameHigh schoolCollege
WR Jacob HarrisPalm Harbor UniversityCentral Florida
TE Tyler HigbeeEast LakeWestern Kentucky
* Jacob Harris currently is on the reserves list
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Football: Jesuit’s Matt Thompson named state coach of the year

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Jesuit coach Matt Thompson, who led the Tigers to their first state title since 1968, was named the overall state football coach of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

Thompson, named the 6A coach of the year two weeks ago, won the overall award following a final round of voting by a statewide panel of football coaches and media representatives. He finished with 10 first-place votes and 157 points to beat out Venice’s John Peacock, the 8A coach of the year who led the Indians to a state title. 

After reaching the state semifinals each of the last four seasons, the Tigers took the next step by beating perennial powerhouse Miami Northwestern in the state semifinals to advance to the championship game for the first time since 1992. 

In the 6A final, Jesuit rallied from a 15 point second half deficit to beat Pensacola Pine Forest for its first title in 53 years. The Tigers finished the season undefeated and ended up ranked No. 8 nationally, the highest of any area program in the MaxPreps era. During the regular season, Jesuit beat 7A state champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, becoming the first area program to knock off the national power. 

Thompson has 99 games and made six state semifinal appearances during his tenure.  

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Football: Pinellas Park’s Kenny Crawford steps down as coach

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Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford, who transformed the school’s downtrodden football into a consistent playoff contender, said he was stepping down after 13 seasons. 

“It was time,” Crawford said. “The job was just becoming too much.”

Former Boca Ciega coach Max Smith, who served as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator this past season, will replace Crawford as coach. The decisions were announced to the team on Monday. 

Crawford, a former assistant at Northeast, was hired at Pinellas Park in 2009. He inherited a program that won five games from 2004-08. 

It did not take long for Crawford to turn things around. He went 10-10 his first two seasons in (2009-10), doubling the win total from the previous five seasons combined. Since then, Crawford has guided the Patriots to the playoffs in 10 of the past 11 seasons. 

He finishes as the school’s all-time leader in wins with 95. 

“When I took over, this was the worst team in the county,” Crawford said. “We never had a losing season during my time as coach. That’s something to be proud of.”

Crawford also spent countless hours helping kids play football at the next level. More than 100 of his players went on to play in college during his tenure.  

Part of the reason Crawford decided to step down was because of health issues. In the past five years, he has had surgery on his spine and both hips.

“I coached half of this past season in a golf cart,” Crawford said. “It just became too much.”

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